The Grenada Parliament has taken steps to ensure that there is funding for the newly created Ministry of Climate Resilience, the Environment, Forestry, Fisheries, Disaster Management and Information.
The Keith Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) which won all 15 seats in the March 13 general election has passed the Appropriation (2018) Amendment Bill (2018) to provide the necessary funding for the ministry headed by Senator Simon Stiell.
The bill seeks to re-allocate some of the EC$1.1 allocated in the 2018 budget for the period January 1to December 31 from the different ministries to the new ministry.
This re-allocation of $17.4 will ensure that the Stiell-led ministry can function without any added monies having to be found for the billion-dollar budget.
In addressing the issue, Sen. Stiell who is the Leader of Government Business in the Upper House said that government through his ministry can now work on building capacity in climate change.
“Climate change as we all know is the greatest threat that is facing not only Grenada but countries worldwide and in particular highly vulnerable states, Small Island Developing States such as Grenada”, he told a Senate sitting.
According to the Cabinet Minister, the newly created ministry has put Grenada in a position to become far more resilient to environmental shocks.
“We have seen the impact of a very active hurricane season, the damage, the destruction that was caused to many of our neighbours and let us not forget our own experiences in 2004, 2005 with Hurricanes Ivan and Emily. So, by becoming more resilient and having this natural focus on building resilience, it means we will be able to sustain less damage during an environmental shock and then we’ll be able to recover
far faster”, he said.
He stated that the new ministry will also allow government to take advantage of the opportunities that exist locally with climate finance and the billions of dollars that are available to Small Island Developing States “which will provide us with the necessary resources to build that said resilience and by combining Climate Resilience with the Environment, Forestry, Fisheries, Disaster Management and Information, it also enables Grenada to take a far more strategic approach in protecting and strengthening our natural resources.”
Sen. Stiell pointed out that four ministries will in effect be now working side by side as a result of the changes made in allocation of portfolios after the General Elections.
He stressed that the creation of the Ministry of Climate Resilience ties in closely with the Ministries of Implementation and the Energy Divisions which now operates under the Ministry of Infrastructural Development, Public Utilities, Energy, Transportation and Implementation and the move of the portfolio of Economic Development to the Ministry of Finance.
“These four ministries … that will now work hand in glove in terms of the goal to maximise resource mobilisation – the Ministry of Climate Resilience, the Division of Economic and Technical Cooperation within the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and International Relations and the Ministry of Implementation will now be working in concert, whether it be using our international relations through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, whether it is the project identification, preparation through climate resilience or through the Department of Economic and Technical Cooperation – (they) all come together and then the critical thing is the ability to implement those projects”, he said.
Sen. Stiell contended that combining the Ministry of Culture with the Ministry of Youth and Sports will not only save government money but also benefit the nation’s youth.
He said: “These three portfolios … youth, sports and culture are recognising the significant opportunities that exist for the development of our youth within these areas”.
“We already have seen significant success by young sportsmen and women both nationally, regionally and internationally and that is already being built on within the Ministry of Youth but now pulling in culture again.
“We have so many talented young men and women in the performing arts and creative arts (we will be) able to draw upon that, pull out those opportunities, which will help us develop and raise our youth in Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique,” he remarked.
Minister of Culture, Senator Norland Cox who stood in support of the bill, highlighted the fact that the various government ministries will also be kept in check on their spending.
“This amendment is showing that government is keeping in mind with what it is set out to do – to ensure that we do not in any way interfere or create any harm for fiscal stability by making ad-hoc amendment or adding to our budget, but to ensure that we keep inline and to secure those gains that we would have had in terms of how we did business before and how we are doing it now after the Structural Adjustment Programme…”, he said.
“I believe that is a clear indication that that legislation is needed to keep each and every one of us in check to ensure that we just don’t go on a spending spree and forces us to make those changes while we have new ministries and changes in portfolios are reconfigured but also what is most important, we are doing that without adding any new monies to the 2018 budget at this current time”, he added.
The 1995-2008 NNP regime of Prime Minister Mitchell has often been accused of creating the financial debacle in the country through its massive borrowing and spending spree to try and jump start the Grenadian economy.
Minister with responsibility for Disaster Management and Information, Sen. Winston Garraway lamented that the Appropriation Amendment Bill is timely given the start of the hurricane season.
“The Bill before us is extremely important because it now gives the government the ability to spend in this new ministry (Ministry of Climate Resilience…) and given that come June 1st will be the start of the Atlantic Hurricane Season, it is important to note Mr. President that we need to spend monies re: our work to ensure that we are fully prepared and ready for whatever realities come this hurricane season,” he said.